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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

Inglourious Basterds (2009) Revisit

Original Episode: #4 - Inglourious Basterds ft. Sarah Duncan (released March 19, 2020)

New Episode: #147 - Inglourious Basterds Revisit (released January 18, 2023)


Plot Summary: During World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as the "Inglourious Basterds" are sent on a mission to Nazi-occupied France to spread fear and chaos behind enemy lines. Led by the ruthless Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), the Basterds try to operate a covert mission to take down Hitler and the high ranking Nazi officials at the theater's grand opening night. However, a young Frenchwoman named Shosanna (Melanie Laurent) who owns a cinema in Paris and has her own vendetta against the Third Reich has her own ideas for opening night turning the event into a bloody and explosive showdown.


Cast:

  • Quentin Tarantino, Director/Writer

  • Brad Pitt as Lieutenant Aldo Raine

  • Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus / Emmanuelle Mimieux

  • Christoph Waltz as Standartenführer Hans Landa

  • Eli Roth as Sergeant Donny Donowitz aka "The Bear Jew"

  • Michael Fassbender as Lieutenant Archie Hicox

  • Diane Kruger as Bridget Von Hammersmark

  • Daniel Brühl as Fredrick Zoller

  • Til Schweiger as Sergeant Hugo Stiglitz

  • B. J. Novak as Smithson "The Little Man" Utivich

  • Gedeon Burkhard as Wilhelm Wicki

  • Jacky Ido as Marcel

  • Omar Doom as Omar Ulmer

  • Samm Levine as Gerald Hirschberg

  • August Diehl as Sturmbannführer Dieter Hellstrom

Recognition:

  • Inglourious Basterds was released in the US on August 21, 2009.

  • It grossed $120.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $200.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide gross $321.4 million, against a production budget of $70 million. It became Tarantino's highest-grossing film, both in the US and worldwide, until Django Unchained in 2012.

  • It made a great number of critics' top ten lists of 2009 including Roger Ebert's at #5.

  • In February 2010, the film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Waltz, and Best Original Screenplay. Waltz was awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

  • Inglourious Basterds has an 89% among critics on RT, a 69 score on Metacritic, and a 4.3 out of 5 on Letterboxd.

Did You Know?:

  • Quentin Tarantino was considering abandoning the film while the casting searched for someone to play Colonel Hans Landa took place, fearing he'd written a role that was unplayable. After Christoph Waltz auditioned, however, both Tarantino and producer Lawrence Bender agreed they had found the perfect actor for the role.

  • The only movie Brad Pitt made as a leading actor for The Weinstein Company or its previous iteration, Miramax. He has said it had everything to do with wanting to work with Quentin Tarantino and nothing to do with Harvey Weinstein. His animosity for Weinstein stems from an incident in the 90s where Pitt physically threatened the producer upon learning of Weinstein's unwanted sexual harassment of his then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow.

  • This is the first Quentin Tarantino film to win an Oscar for acting: Christoph Waltz for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Waltz won another Oscar for Tarantino's Django Unchained (2012).

  • In a round table discussion with Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino, Tarantino said that Til Schweiger had previously refused to put on a Nazi uniform for a film role, largely due to being born and raised in Germany and his very real hatred of anything Nazi related. When Schweiger was told he'd brutally kill a Nazi in every scene he wore the uniform, he happily agreed to play the part of "Hugo Stiglitz".

  • To prepare for her role, Mélanie Laurent worked as a film projectionist for a few weeks at New Beverly Cinema, projecting mostly cartoons and trailers before shows. The real test set by Quentin Tarantino was for her to screen Reservoir Dogs (1992).

  • Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) speaks the most languages in the movie: Four (English, French, German, and Italian).

  • For his performance in this film, Christoph Waltz became one of seven performers to win an Oscar playing a character that mostly spoke in a foreign language (German, French, and Italian). The others are Sophia Loren, Robert De Niro, Roberto Benigni, Benicio Del Toro, Marion Cotillard, and Youn Yuh-Jung.

  • Although the movie is fictional, it was partially inspired by "Operation Greenup", a real-life mission by the Office of Strategic Services. In February 1945, three O.S.S. Agents, Frederick Mayer (a German-born American spy), Hans Wijnberg (a Dutch-born Agent, who, like Mayer, was Jewish), and Franz Weber (a former Austrian Wehrmacht Officer), were parachuted into Austria. For several months, Mayer gathered intelligence on the Germans' "Alpine Fortress", by posing as a Nazi Officer and as a French electrician. While staying with Weber's family in Innsbruck, Wijnberg and Weber radioed the intelligence back to O.S.S. operatives in Bari, Italy. When Mayer's cover was blown by a black marketer, he was captured and tortured by the Gestapo, but refused to give up the other two agents. However, General Franz Hofer, commander of the Nazi forces in western Austria, realized the war was lost, and was looking for a way to surrender his forces to the Allies, instead of to the Red Army. He had Mayer brought to his house, and offered to send a message for him to the O.S.S. offices in Bern, Switzerland, through a German Agent. Mayer helped negotiate the surrender of Germany's Austria forces, which took place in Innsbruck on May 3, 1945. Afterwards, Mayer and Wijnberg returned to America. In 2012, they were reunited via a webcam interview for the History Channel documentary, "The Real Inglourious Basterds". Wijnberg died the day after the webcam interview. Weber died in April 2016.

  • Quentin Tarantino intended for this to be as much a war film as a spaghetti western, and considered titling the movie "Once Upon a Time in Nazi-Occupied France". He gave that title instead to the first chapter of the film.

  • The role of Shosanna Dreyfus' father, Jakob (briefly seen hiding beneath the floorboards in Perrier LaPadite's farmhouse), was played by Patrick Elias, whose father, Buddy Elias, was a first cousin of Anne Frank.

  • When Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) pretends to be an Italian actor near the end of the movie, he uses the name "Enzo Gorlomi", which is the birth name of the director of The Inglorious Bastards (1978), Enzo G. Castellari.

The Stanley Rubric:

Original Legacy Score: 7

New Legacy Score: 8.75


Original Impact/Significance Score: 4

New Impact/Significance Score: 8.25


Original Novelty Score: 7.5

New Novelty Score: 8.75


Original Classicness Score: 8

New Classicness Score: 8


Original Rewatchability Score: 5

New Rewatchability Score: 7.75


Original Audience Score: 8.8

New Audience Score: 8.9 (90% for Google, 88% for RT)


Original Total Score: 40.3

New Total Score: 50.4


In Memorium:

  • Annette McCarthy, 64, American actress (Twin Peaks, Creature, Baywatch)

  • Ben Masters, 75, American actor (Passions, All That Jazz, HeartBeat)

  • Dorothy Tristan, 81, American actress (Klute, Scarecrow, Man on a Swing) - co-writer on original Jaws 2 script.

  • Earl Boen, 81, American actor (The Terminator, Bonkers, World of Warcraft)

  • Adam Rich, 54, American actor (Eight Is Enough, Dungeons & Dragons, The Devil and Max Devlin)

  • Jeff Beck, 78, English musician (member of The Yardbirds and the Jeff Beck Group) - was a 2x Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

Remaining Questions:

  • Why bother shooting everyone in the theatre if they're going to burn up anyway?

  • Why would you show Zoller a moment of tenderness instead of shooting him in the head?

  • For being a German film critic, how do you not know the difference in how Germans display three fingers than the English?

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